Samui Wining & Dining
Do it Yourself!

A taste of southern Thailand from Chaweng Noi’s Buco Restaurant & Bar.

 

Do it Yourself!Food! Wonderful, full-flavoured Thai food. Curries and noodle dishes, soups and stir-fries; spicy, tangy, sweet and sour. Images of old Siam and the mysterious Orient, all conjured up and evoked by the exotic and delicious tastes of Thailand. But the problem is that there are just so many different styles and flavours. There’re the courtly dishes of the North, the herby, earthy recipes of the Northeast, and the inventiveness of the fertile Central region. And you can add to this the extensive Chinese influence that is so widespread in the South. And often a good Thai restaurant will offer a selection of all these jumbled up together on one menu.

 

But you’re here, on Samui, surrounded by beaches and coconut trees. So it’s hardly surprising, as with all parts of the Southern region, that the coconut is used to the full; its milk used to thicken soups and curries, and its oil for frying. And all through the region, seafood recipes abound; nowhere is very far from the coast.

 

This month’s featured recipe comes courtesy of Buco Restaurant & Bar and is a typically southern dish, mildly spicy and with tender young coconut meat, aubergines (eggplants) and fresh tiger prawns. But then you’d expect this as Buco is right on the beach and features a huge selection of different seafood, all of it fresh each day, as well as being a very laid-back and tranquil spot to stop-off for a while – complimentary WiFi included!

 

One temptation when making Thai food is to use ready-made curry paste instead of making it yourself; it’s a lot easier to just buy it, particularly when you get out and away from Thailand. This is more than just a talking point; every region has its own special curry pastes and just about every cook has their own particular variation on them. But here the stress is on authenticity. And this particular recipe has all the typical ingredients and just the right blend of curry paste to make it the genuine mild, rich taste of southern Thailand. (Console yourself with the thought that the curry paste can be made in a blender; there’s no need to pound it all together for hours in the traditional way!)

 

So, with special thanks to Buco, here are all the details you need to make one of the signature dishes of both Buco and the South, although you could always drop in, sample it for yourself and get the idea of exactly how to present it. Buco Restaurant & Bar is right on the ring-road, just outside Chaweng Bay in neighbouring Chaweng Noi and close to Imperial Samui Beach Resort – keep an eye out for the colourful sign on the road!

 

Tiger Prawns with Green Curry Sauce and Young Coconut

 

Ingredients:

3-4                king prawns (300-400 gms)

1                   coconut’s worth of young coconut meat

1                   red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks

1                   medium-sized eggplant, cut into chunks

5                   kaffir lime leaves

1       sprig    sweet basil leaves

1       cup      fresh coconut milk

¼      cup      solanum torvum (or pea eggplant)

3       tbsp     fish sauce

1       tsp       brown sugar

 

Ingredients for green curry paste:

4       small    green chilies

4       cloves  garlic, minced

1       stalk     fresh lemon-grass, chopped

1       cup      coriander/cilantro leaves and stems, chopped

¼      cup      shallot or purple onion, diced

1       piece    galangal (or ginger) grated

½      tsp       ground coriander

½      tsp       ground cumin

¾      tsp       shrimp paste

½      tsp       ground white pepper

2       tbsp     lime juice

 

Method:

First deep fry the prawns and set to one side. Then create the curry paste by blending all the ingredients together (in any order) using a food processor. If necessary, add a few spoonfuls of the coconut milk to help blend. Set to one side.

Prepare each of the lime leaves by carefully tearing each half of the leaf away from either side of the stem (discard the stems). Then cut the leaves into thin strips using scissors. Set aside.

Pre-heat a wok or large frying pan to a medium-high heat. Add the oil whilst swirling, until it begins to smoke. Add the prepared curry paste, working it into the oil for 1 minute, then add the coconut milk.

Add the solanum torvum and eggplant, stirring to incorporate, until the curry sauce comes to a boil or until the vegetables have softened (but are still firm and colourful). Add the young coconut meat and red bell pepper plus the strips of lime leaf, stirring well.

Place the king prawns on a plate and pour the stir-fried green curry sauce-mix over.

Top this with sweet basil leaves then drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of coconut milk over and decorate with young coconut meat.

 

Enjoy!

 

Rob De Wet

 


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